The media loves to pick people up and then toss them down–but don’t count of the press’s falling out of love with vice presidential aspirant John Edwards. This is a deep, abiding love.
It is based on more than John Edwards pretty face or the media’s desire that the Democratic Party, to which they belong in overwhelming numbers, field a strong national ticket, including an opening to southerners.
Newsday columnist James Pinkerton says that the reason the media won’t fall out of love with Edwards is that they just have so much in common–the press sees Edwards as “the southern-fried mirror image of themselves.”
He’s made money–reporters are no longer the scruffy scribblers of “Front Page”–lives in Georgetown, the neighborhood that still has traces of its Kennedy-era Camelot glamour–and he’s a trial lawyer.
For many of us trial lawyers are the culprits who have made going to the doctor as expensive as a trip to Europe, but the press and other members of the opinion elite don’t share our distaste. That’s because they subscribe to what Pinkerton dubs “elitist populism–active, redistributionist government.”
Because the voter nowadays isn’t especially keen on having his hard-earned money redistributed, redistribution is “spurred on not by voters and elected officials, but instead by lawyers and lawsuits….It’s the tort bar that has turned trial lawyering into an income-transferring mechanism rivaling the government.”
“According to the Manhattan Institute,” notes Pinkerton, “trial lawyers targeting everything from Big Tobacco to the Big Mac have created a $200-billion-a-year moneychurn that yields $40 billion a year in revenues for attorneys.
“And the media mostly love it. Why not? Both lawyers and journalists are a high-end bunch these days — lots of income, lots of education. It’s common to find reporters who have law degrees; it’s even more common to find reporters who are married or related to lawyers.
“To such folk, the private litigators taking on Wal-Mart — today’s equivalent of Standard Oil — are merely filling a vacuum. Thus journos have been cheering as the company – much disliked for its conservative culture and anti-union stance — has been hit with a potentially zillion-dollar class-action suit, filed by private litigators on behalf of female employees. And so what if trial lawyers, as a result, take in billions in contingency fees? As Fourth Estaters shrug, that’s just the way the system works.”